Originally published at http://www.aussieresumes.com/2010/common-resume-mistakes/.
Common Resume Mistakes
We work with employers of all sizes – local, national and international companies, Government departments, and educational bodies. In working with these organizations, we have found that there are some common mistakes job seekers make. These mistakes could be costing you a interview!! Fix them now!!
Forget the section labelled “Career Objective”. Latest survey results were very surprising indeed, revealing that 99% of employers want to see a Profile section in your resume and NOT a career objective! The survey also revealed that your profile (or something similarly named) needs to contain the right mix of information.
Asia Pacific employers prefer (in fact demand) a résumé of 3 to 4 pages in length. If you’re living in Australia and seeking a job in the APAC region, then opt for the Aussie way and not the Yankee way! If you are applying for a position in the US or UK, their market is different to ours and we can assist in this area. Only 2% of our respondents wanted to see 5 or 6 pages (this was for special circumstances), and only 1 respondent wanted to see 1 or 2 pages!
To quote one employer “usually any less than 3-4 pages does not give a clear picture of past experience and skills”.
Date of Birth
There is no legal requirement for you to supply your date of birth. This was an area where we saw a dramatic change compared to previous surveys. Results from the Aussie Résumés Employer Survey was quite surprising: 38% stated yes they did like to see date of birth, 47% stated “it doesn’t matter”, and 12% said they don’t want to see it. (3% of participants didn’t respond to the question.)
(Note: this is a debatable issue and needs to be considered for your particular circumstance. It is a sad fact that some employers will, and do, discriminate based on age. There are many contentious issues and factors to be considered. We would be happy to offer more opinion on this subject to our clients.)
If your resume states “references available upon request” or similar, you may be doing yourself an injustice. 99% of surveyed employers want to see a list of phone referees, compared to 95% from the last survey. (Note: employers should not be contacting your referees without prior permission – usually obtained at interview. However, you must also be aware that this isn’t a perfect world!) Most government positions require a list of two or three phone referees, on application. Our latest survey revealed a new trend as it relates to referees – as a client of Aussie Resumes we provide you with advice in this area.
To quote an employer: “Referee names and contact details should be provided. Failure to do so indicates something to hide.”
Graphics & Borders
Unless you’re in a role which requires a great deal of creative flair such as: website designer; graphic artist; photographer; etc – stay away from graphics, photos and fancy fonts, no matter how desperate you are in gaining the hiring manager’s attention! This was one area specifically commented on, time and time again. (This also applies to IT applicants who insert Microsoft logos.)
Enlightening Employer Comments
“In the recently advertised position, we received over 350 resumes. The resumes that were automatically excluded were the ones that had spelling mistakes, unprofessional email addresses, any that had an inappropriate photo attached, anywhere they had used Monster or Seek resume services.”
“Spelling is critical. I often shortlist people who can spell liaison / liaise correctly. Everyone seems to use this word but so many spell it incorrectly. To me it demonstrates an attention to detail. Also, if I receive a resume without a covering letter I don’t even respond to it.”
“Having just received over 500 applications for a part time IT support officer job, addressing the selection criteria in the covering letter was of paramount importance. If I had to wade through each CV to find the details, I was immediately put off.”
“The more professional the résumé the greater appeal to me as the job provider. I generally give each résumé 2 minutes of my time. It’s a very short window of opportunity.”
When we asked employers about what bugs them, this was the response from just one employer!
“Plastic folders, career goals, attributes not backed up by proof or specific examples (i.e. loyal, hardworking), spelling and grammatical errors, résumés that are obviously the same from job to job applied for with just the job title changed (or sometimes forgotten to be changed), attached testimonials and certificates (pages of them!), irrelevant personal interests, really long résumés.”
We think that really sums it up!!
As reflected by our employer surveys, it is CRITICAL your resume, cover letter and / or selection criteria contain the correct information. The above is just a small representation of our survey results. We were very excited by the results from our latest employer survey as trends have definitely changed!
Why would you guess (or include incorrect information) and potentially jeopardise your career prospects?
(Adapted from “Common Resume Mistakes” at http://www.aussieresumes.com/2010/common-resume-mistakes/).
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Does your resume pass pass the test? Do you need some assistance in improving your resume and improving your chances of getting the interview? If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services. If you are interested in learning more about finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group. Or, if you are interested in attorney or other roles in the legal industry, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.